[SATLUG] More Info on XCSSA's New Hardware Bent

tweeks tweeks at rackspace.com
Sat Jul 26 11:54:41 CDT 2008

Hey all..

I would like to take a moment to welcome all the new "hardware hacker" lurkers 
who have recently (and quietly) joined the XCSSA mail list.  Most of these 
folks are Rackers and came to us by way of the Rackspace Hardware Hacker 
meeting in June (held at @Rackspace)... Some of which are already dabbling in 
microcontroller programming, but many of which are brand new to hardware 
hacking (aka "Physical Computing").

Many of these new folks have recently signed up on XCSSA, but have not made 
any of the recent meetings, and have asked me to send out some XCSSA 
meeting/presentation pointers so that they can see what we're like.. 

So, to that point, here's a post about XCSSA's new hardware subjects that I 
recently sent to ALG (Austin LUG)...  

N00bs enjoy! and please feel free to c ome out to the August & September 
meetings!  They sounds like they're going to be a real hoot!

Hey all..

Just a heads up... (and shameless plug here.. ;)

XCSSA.ORG (in SA) is in the process of re-forming to include not just
alternative operating systems (UN*X, non-MS, etc), but to also include 
hardware hacking and electronics projects too.

XCSSA's History:
Born our of the old CASA/C=Amiga group from the 80's -- since 1996 XCSSA has
formally been mostly about alternative OS' and some other random hardware 
projects here and there.  However we've found that much of our interest 
(and some of our geeky associates that we hang with) are interested in much 
more X-otic stuff than just Linux, xBSD, Plan9 and other operating 
systems.  They like tinkering with embedded systems, microcontrollers, 
electronics and more.  And let's face it.. Running Linux or even Solaris or 
xBSD just isn't "that X-otic" any more. ;)

But XCSSA has always had a bit of a hardware-hack bent to our passions... so 
in this light, we are re-forming ourselves to also embrace the hardware 
hacker side of our geek-selves and will be soon revamping our site to include 
a wiki, forums, project pages (for hardware and software hacks), and much 
more to help us better develop this side of the group.  We will be rounding 
things out a bit by featuring more hardware hacker, electronics, 
microcontroller projects, and maybe even some robotics type presentations as 
well as ad hoc hardware show-n-tell sessions.  People wise, around 50-60 San 
Antonio hardware geeks are in the process of joining forces with the XCSSA 
ranks (mostly from Rackspace).. so we're getting bigger too!

Officially, July 21st was our first formal foray into this new arena:

and as always, we love to invite others to come sniff things out, share info 
with us, have some pizza and to learn.   No memberships, minutes, politics or
dues.  Just hard core geeky-fun, learning, and pizza. :)

Recent Hardware Hacker Presentations:
If this sounds interesting, but you don't want to drive down without knowing 
more, know that we already have several Austin-ites who make the trek down 
since we've added this new agenda to our docket.  To wet your appetite, here 
are some of the recent presentations from the past three months (yes.. 
sometimes we have 2-3 presentations during our 3 hour meetings, and sometimes 
even hang out a couple hours in the parking lot after than chatting it up!):

        "The Arduino Microcontroller", By Scott Simpson

        "Assembling a ZIFduino μ-controller Dev Board Kit", By Tweeks

        "Getting High on Microcontrollers", By Chris Snell

        "PIC Microcontrollers Intro & Overview", By Pete Vorenkamp

        "Interfacing Character LCDs w/the Arduino Microcontroller", By: Tweeks

        "Intro to the MIDI Box Platform: The ShoeSID":By, Tim Soderstrom 

        Recent Photos:

Upcoming subjects in Aug & September include:
        -Hacking on the Hydra Propeller based Gaming-Dev Platform
        -Using EagleCAD to take circuits from inception to Fabbed PC Boards
         (yes.. for the beginner)

If interested, we meet every third Monday night of the month (next=Aug 18th) 
from 7pm-10pm, in room 025 (the basement computer lab) of Nail Technical 
Center... heh.. and some even hang out in the parking lot for an hour or two 
after that. :)

Mail list (low BW) here:

Other historical presentations (archived) here:

Future meetings posted (usually the weekend before) here on the web site:

Hope to see some of you all down here some time! :)

President of XCSSA.ORG

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